29 November 2011


Wellington is just as nice as I thought it would be.  Sam and I have only been in the city twice, but we did a fair bit of exploring.  We both think it looks like a great place to settle down after we see the South Island, unless we find a place we like better down there.

Lyn & Katie putting in the new queen

Our hosts last week lived in a very neat rural property with lots of rock walls, gardens and trees.  They also have bee hives!  Here they are introducing a new Queen that just arrived in the mail.


Cool Mondrien windows

One of our trips into town took us to the Underground Market, an arts and crafts fair held weekly underneath a park on the waterfront. Having it underground is a great idea because Wellington gets pretty windy.

Underground Craft Market

After the market, we walked down the waterfront to Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand. It's a big museum for such a small country! We didn't have time to see everything, but we saw a lot of taxidermy kiwis, keas, and kakas. They have an "Earthquake House" where you can sit through an earthquake simulation. I've never been in an earthquake before, but I had a very vivid dream a few weeks ago that felt so real I almost thought it was a memory at first. I'll let you in on a secret: I think my dream earthquake was more realistic than the museum simulation. There, I said it. Sorry, Te Papa. My imagination knows no bounds.

Te Papa also houses a record-breaking motorcycle that Sam has been wanting to see since he was 18, almost entirely hand built by a New Zealand man named John Britten. When I say hand built, I don't just mean hand assembled. Sam says he wants to write a blog post about it, so I won't say too much more.  On a related note, you should watch The World's Fastest Indian with Anthony Hopkins, about another Kiwi innovator who built, or rather frankensteined, a motorbike in his garage.

Admiring the Britten bike
This bike is constantly surrounded by drooling men.  I left Sam there for about 30 minutes to moon over it.
Floor map
HUGE walk-on satellite floor map in Te Papa.  We could see all the places we've been.

Te Papa sculptures
Sculptures outside of Te Papa


Wellington sidewalk
Even the sidewalks in Wellington are interesting.

Sam on the bridge

We're currently staying with Anne & Roy, a wonderful couple in Plimmerton, 25 minutes outside of Wellington. They're very kind, and they're active in the NZ folk music scene, so they know our host Sue from Palmerston North.  Last night Anne and her friend Phillipa played the hurdy gurdy while Sam, Roy and I talked about classic cars, among other things.

Sam is presently in the music room jamming with Roy, who is originally from Ireland and who is primarily a singer.  We've been invited to a Christmas party on Thursday, and an open mic night on Friday, and Sam will be participating in the music making.  Luckily, he's been able to find guitars at most places we've been, plus a few other neat instruments here and in Palmerston North.  Even I've been eying the banjo-uke with a wistful eye.

I'll make sure to take some photos of the music making and I'll try to post again before we leave the North Island on Saturday!

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